The Canadian journalist was joined by fellow MSNBC News correspondent Priscilla Thompson, who featured conversations with historians who agreed that the Georgia runoff election laws were to keep black people out of statewide offices, reports Fox News.
Opening the segment, Velshi said "But while we now have two black candidates competing in this race, runoff elections in general have deeply racist origins and were designed to keep black candidates out of office."
Enter historian and Southern Methodist University professor Cal Jillson, who said, "Back to the Civil War, blacks were a major part of the southern electorate. Once reconstruction and military occupation of the south ended, white settlers spent the rest of the 19th century squeezing blacks out of the electorate."
Thompson continued, arguing that the first method racist white people employed to "disenfranchise" the black voting bloc was instituting a "county unit system to give less populated but primarily white rural parts of the state more political power," which the Supreme Court ruled to be unconstitutional.
Jillson continued, "At that point, many southern states, including Georgia, looked for other devices, and the runoff system was one of those devices."
Thompson then told the story of the man who came up with the state's runoffs, Denmark Groover.
"Groover, a member of Georgia's House of Representatives fell out of power, and he blamed [the] 'negro bloc voting' for his loss."
Thompson went on to say that the former state representative was a "vocal segregationist" who was "determined to stop black Georgians growing political power."
According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Thompson was correct in that Groover was a racist who used his political power against black Americans.
According to the encyclopedia, Groover was the house floor leader in 1956 for Governor Marvin Griffin, and helped pass the bill that modified Georgia's flag to include the battle emblem of the Confederacy.
"That change in the flag, Groover acknowledged later, was a defiant response to federal court decisions striking down racially segregated schools," wrote author Tom Crawford.
It's important to note that both Groover and Gov. Marvin were members of the Democratic Party.
Thompson continued, stating that in 1963, "one year after the Supreme Court struck down the county unit system, Groover, now back in office, proposed a new election system: the runoff."
"Groover explicitly talked about how even if the white vote were divided in the first election and a black made the runoff, whites could come together as a majority to win in the runoff," Jillson said.
The historian argued that runoffs are the reason why no black people have held senior statewide offices in Georgia.
"No blacks have been elected to the senior offices in Georgia – meaning governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state – ever. So apparently it worked," Jillson claimed.
According to Forbes, the fact that Stacey Abrams is black may have played a role in her loss to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in the recent election.
However, the two candidates that are heading to the Senate runoff, Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, are both black.
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